STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3497
RE: H.B. No. 1772
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2016
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1772, H.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ORAL HEALTH,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to improve oral health in Hawaii.
Specifically, this measure appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services to restore basic adult dental benefits to Medicaid and QUEST integration enrollees.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, DentaQuest, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Hawaii Public Health Association, Hawaii Self-Advocacy Advisory Council, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Ho‘ola Lahui Hawaii, Malama I Ke Ola Health Center, Ohana Health Plan, The Queen's Health Systems, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Waimanalo Health Center, and four individuals.
Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Health and Department of Human Services.
Your Committee finds that oral health in the State presents a public health crisis. According to the Department of Health's 2015 report entitled "Hawaii Oral Health: Key Findings," during 2009-2011, less than half of all pregnant women (forty-one per cent) visited a dentist during their pregnancy, despite national health recommendations stating that dental visits are safe and important to prevent dental problems for mothers and their developing babies. Low-income pregnant women and those on Medicaid or QUEST health insurance were least likely to visit a dentist, at twenty-nine per cent and twenty-seven per cent, respectively. Further, during 2012, only fifty-two per cent of low-income adults saw a dentist, as opposed to eighty-two per cent of high-income adults. More than three thousand emergency room visits in 2012 were due to preventable dental problems, significantly more than the national average, resulting in aggregate hospital charges of $8,500,000. Your Committee further finds that, in its report, the Department of Health recommended several strategies to address oral health in Hawaii. These recommendations include the expansion of affordable preventive dental care services to low-income populations, and the expansion of Medicaid dental services for adults, beyond the current emergency-only coverage, to include preventive and treatment services.
Your Committee notes that the Department of Human Services estimates that restoration of dental benefits will require $12,464,103 of combined state and federal funds, of which $4,799,926 would come from state general funds.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of consistency, clarity, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1772, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1772, H.D. 2, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
JILL N. TOKUDA, Chair